An ode to the Pope, the Yogi & the Dane

Pope Francis came to the United States, met with the president and first lady, connecting with common people everywhere he went.

One uncommon commoner he missed during this trip, however, was the smilingest pop philosopher of our time, a man who exited too soon for devoted aficianados like me. He was a good Roman Catholic named Lawrence “Yogi” Berra. Yogi was the glue of baseball’s powerful New York Yankees during my youth, but much more than just a ball player throughout his life. He had it all on the ball.

“It’s deja vu all over again,” his quip upon witnessing back-to-back homers by teammates, is but one of the many wild and wacky remarks credited to Yogi in a life filled with them.

Baseball, like life, includes ebullience over successes, like home run derby days, but also the opposite, such as filding errors. Berra, a catcher by trade but an outfielder to keep his bat in the lineup on days he “rested,” once muffed a fly in the lengthening shadows of left field. Chagrined, he came into the dugout and ruefully, reputedly, told manager Casey Stengel: “It gets late out there early, coach.”

Even a century of his homey wit and wisdom would have been too little, so let’s use a paraphrase offshoot from that muffed fly ball remark as a tribute to him and to his memory.

It got late out there early, Yogi, at least for those of us who witnessed your love of life and uncommon insights regarding the joy of existence.

Indulge me in another reminiscence regarding an uncommon common man exiting the scene here, though much more life awaits him if he can match Yogi’s span of nine decades.

Dane Doyle, 65, left Carson City this weekend for a new life amid family and friends in Idaho. A product of Reno and a longtime Carson City resident, before retiring he worked as an electrician and always lit up his friends’ lives. He isn’t so much leaving Nevada as embracing Idaho, returning to an area in which he once lived for eight years, planning to enjoy his retirement there among loved ones.

If he gets Yogi’s 90 years on this earth, that’s a quarter century more to bask in the “You Are Sunshine” light in children’s eyes and the lilt in their voices as they sing that song. He told me as we dined last week downtown that sunshine song had lit up his own life last summer during a visit in Idaho, so he immediately found a realtor and bought a house there.

Dane Doyle, Irish as am I, spread good cheer almost everywhere he lit and he will in his new digs. It’s tough to see him light out for yonder but he goes to a better place for him at this point in his life. I’ll write something new about him later, but for now it seems more appropriate to resurrect part of a column about him I wrote more than three years ago.

In August, 2012, detailed Dane’s brainchild, which he called Dead Wood Walking. Also in that column was word of his fondness for CAKE. For Doyle, his Dead Wood Walking project is making walking sticks for people, fashioning them from old tree limbs he finds. He made them for friends — new and old alike. As for CAKE, it has no frosting but is sweet stuff anyway.

It’s an acronym that stands for Consistent Acts of Kindness Everywhere, an upgrade from the old random acts of kindness admonition others like to talk about. With Dane Doyle, you see, it’s consistency that counts along with the kindness. It’s his way of sharing his CAKEwalk through life with his own walking stick to ease the way. Enjoy, Dane. You’ll make Idaho a better place.

You enjoy yourself, too, Yogi, now that you reached that fork in the road and took it.

John Barrette covers Carson City government and business. He can be reached at


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